Gateways, Mailing Lists and Usenet

Tony Travis ajt at
Mon Apr 26 05:18:35 EST 1993

Mike Cherry 726-5955 (CHERRY at EDU.HARVARD.MGH.FRODO) wrote:
: [...]
: Is it worth protecting the current e-mail users of Biosci or should we
: just move ahead and become more usenet oriented? Dave has said many
: times that his goal is to move away for gatewaying the messages from
: usenet to e-mail. However until more of the biologist of the world
: start reading usenet I personally feel it is too soon to sink the
: mailing lists. However as soon as the number of usenet readers are
: greater than the e-mail list readers it will be time to switch. Maybe
: there should be a vote on 1) whether everyone wants all possible
: electronic media included within Biosci's distribution and 2) if you
: answer yes to 1 would you give up the mailing lists or be willing to
: put up with an occasional problem.

Mike, it seems to me that people who _have_ access to USENET
underestimate the value of the email distribution of BIOSCI/bionet.  It
is difficult or impossible for many of us to get a newsfeed and it will
remain so for many years to come.  The 'grass-roots' support for email
subscriptions is evident from the discussions here and I think it is
unfortunate that people focus on the mechanism of distribution rather
than the scientific content of the groups.

I do *NOT* advocate gatewaying of groups into BIOSCI - I advocate a more
enlightened philosophy ;-)

It is perfectly reasonable to combine news and email locally at any
site. This philosophy permits arrangements ranging from 100% USENET to
100% EMAIL access to BIOSCI/bionet and the _addition_ of any LISTSERV
or whatever you like mailing lists locally at each site:  that way
no-one needs to complain about what is/is not included in bionet.

It also means that you can teach users a common method of reading the
groups regardless of the transport mechanism by which the site receives
BIOSCI/bionet or LISTSERV or other mailing lists.

If BIOSCI/bionet is to move forward on this issue then we need to be
*LESS* concerned about the method of distribution and *MORE* concered
about our scientific credibility.  Frankly, I don't care how the
articles I read get here as long as I can read them efficiently (of my
time) and participate in the discussions without having to remember if
I am reading news or email.

: [...]
: Is this just another meta-discussion that is of little concern -- or
: does any one care?

I care ... and so, I guess, do you :-)

Dr. A.J.Travis,                       |  JANET: <ajt at>
Rowett Research Institute,            |  other: <ajt at>
Greenburn Road, Bucksburn,            |  phone: +44 (0)224 712751
Aberdeen, AB2 9SB. UK.                |    fax: +44 (0)224 715349

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